At the end of February, the State Police shut down two popular film streaming websites in Latvia that were streaming films illegally. The estimated damage caused to copyright holders by those two websites is more than EUR 200 000. Four persons are held suspect. The investigation continues.
Through internet monitoring activities the State Police Cybercrime Investigation Unit found information about two websites that performed unlicensed streaming of films – www.movieslv.com and www.cinemalive.tv. In cooperation with the association “For Legal Content”, copyright owners of the illegally streamed content turned to the police.
The Police commenced a criminal process in accordance with Part 3 of Section 148 of the Criminal Law – infringement of copyright or neighbouring right if it is committed in large scale or by an organised group, and Part 1 of Section 148 of the Criminal Law – infringement of copyright or neighbouring right, if such infringement has caused substantial harm to rights and interests protected by law of a person.
During the investigation the Police found out that one of the two streaming websites provided access to approximately 2 500 movies free of charge from 2013 onward. The majority of those movies were offered in Latvian language and intended for Latvian audience. The Police also found out that 71% of all the visitors came from Latvia. Information acquired during the investigation also shows that approximately 27 000 of regular users used the illegal service every day. They also promoted the website on their social network profiles, attracting new users. Administrators of the website gained income from advertisements. To avoid being discovered by the authorities, administrators performed several major changes to the websites over the course of the years.
For infringement of copyright or neighbouring rights the Criminal Law foresees as punishment even deprivation of liberty for a period up to six years.
The State Police intends to continue performing monitoring of Latvia’s internet space to identify resources that provide illegal services. The State Police reminds that questions regarding licensing must be sought by the National Electronic Mass Media Council – www.neplpadome.lv.
The State Police Cybercrime Investigation Unit invites the residents to inform the Police about similar websites that are obviously illegal and offer illegally audiovisual content created by the Latvian companies via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.